Technomic, National Restaurant Assn. to present third annual National Restaurant Assn. Fast Casual Trends & Directions Conference May 16 in Chicago; conference will focus on fast-casual segment

CHICAGO , April 24, 2014 (press release) – Technomic, in partnership with the National Restaurant Association and DigitalCoCo, premier sponsor PepsiCo Foodservice and Primary Color, is pleased to present the 3rd annual National Restaurant Association Fast Casual Trends & Directions Conference, an industry event focused on the growing fast-casual segment. The conference will be held at The Ritz-Carlton Chicago on Friday, May 16, and will feature Pro Football Hall of Famer Marcus Allen as a speaker.

This exclusive, invitation-only event is designed to offer C-level fast-casual restaurant executives a comprehensive look at where the fast-casual segment is, where it is headed and how to capitalize on opportunities. The conference will bring together key players in the fast-casual community, including leaders of the NRA's Fast Casual Industry Council.

"Fast-casual restaurants are a growing segment of our industry," said Phil Kafarakis, Chief Innovation Officer for the National Restaurant Association. "Operators in this space face a unique series of challenges and opportunities. The Fast Casual Trends and Directions Conference will provide vital industry research to arm fast-casual operators with the information they need on their path to success. This conference offers tremendous value to our members operating within the fast casual segment."

"This is an essential event for fast-casual executives who are looking to gain reliable insights on the current state of the fast-casual segment and a detailed perspective on what is to come," said Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Technomic." "Executives in attendance will have access to exclusive research findings and information and leave with a competitive edge in the marketplace."

"I have spent over 20 years analyzing the Fast Casual segment, over 800 brands and millions of consumers contribute to the future of Fast Casual, it's here to stay," said Paul Barron, CEO and Founder of Digital CoCo. "This segment is the future of how innovation in the restaurant business will happen. The FCIC provides a vehicle for like-minded fast casual innovators to come together for the sharing of ideas but most of all, to forge relationships that can help the segment become the leader for upgrading the restaurant industry to adapt to the modern day food consumer."

Programming for this event, led by the teams at the NRA Fast Casual Industry Council and Technomic, draws on years of unparalleled industry expertise in foodservice knowledge, data collection, trend observation and consumer insights.

"PepsiCo Foodservice is extremely proud to be associated with the NRA and Technomic Fast Casual conference. Since its inception, we have continued to embrace the learning and partnerships developed at this conference. We are also proud to be sponsoring Marcus Allen, Pro Football Hall of Famer, as a speaker at this year's conference. Marcus has continued to live up to his reputation as an All-Star even in retirement from football and knows what it takes to build an effective team," said Kelvin Lane, PepsiCo Foodservice Senior Manager, Restaurant Strategy.

"Primary Color is proud to be a sponsor of this conference. Since 1985 we have worked closely with the restaurant industry and continue to support their growth throughout the world," said Paul Wartman, Senior Vice President for Primary Color. "Fast-casual restaurants are the fastest growing segment of the restaurant space. The Fast Casual Trends and Directions Conference is an important event for fast-casual executives who choose to keep on top of the latest trends in the industry."

Attendance is limited to C-level restaurant operators, including owners, presidents and founders, as well as sponsoring organizations. Vice presidents and director-level executives at smaller operations will also be considered.

For more information, contact Cassie Vedros at

About the National Restaurant Association

Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which comprises 990,000 restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of more than 13.5 million employees. We represent the industry in Washington, D.C., and advocate on its behalf. We operate the industry's largest trade show (NRA Show May 17-20, 2014, in Chicago); leading food safety training and certification program (ServSafe); unique career-building high school program (the NRAEF's ProStart); as well as the Kids LiveWell program promoting healthful kids' menu options. For more information, visit and find us on Twitter @WeRRestaurants, Facebook and YouTube.

About Technomic

Technomic provides clients with the facts, insights and consulting support they need to enhance their business strategies, decisions and results. Its services include numerous publications and digital products, as well as proprietary studies and ongoing research on all aspects of the food industry.

About Digital CoCo

DigitalCoCo is the brainchild of web entrepreneur, publisher and producer Paul Barron. Paul has been instrumental in developing publishing platforms, creative content, tech solutions and web audiences over the past 18 years. As the founder of and, he has been a retail and restaurant industry catalyst and sought-after speaker and consultant to many of the top brands in the business. DigitalCoCo is leading the social business movement in the restaurant business with the creation of the restaurant industry's first consumer and social brand index. The Restaurant Social Media Index (RSMI) is expected to reach over 7,000 restaurant brands, 53 million consumers and more than 210,000 locations in 2014.

About PepsiCo

PepsiCo offers the world's largest portfolio of billion-dollar food and beverage brands, including 19 different product lines that generate more than $1 billion in annual retail sales each. Our main businesses—Quaker, Tropicana, Gatorade, Frito-Lay, and Pepsi Cola—also make hundreds of other enjoyable and wholesome foods and beverages that are respected household names throughout the world. With net revenues of approximately $60 billion, PepsiCo's people are united by our unique commitment to sustainable growth by investing in a healthier future for people and our planet, which we believe also means a more successful future for PepsiCo. We call this commitment Performance with Purpose: PepsiCo's promise to provide a wide range of foods and beverages for local tastes; to find innovative ways to minimize our impact on the environment, including by conserving energy and water usage, and reducing packaging volume; to provide a great workplace for our associates; and to respect, support, and invest in the local communities where we operate. For more information, please visit

About Primary Color

Primary Color is one of today's leading full service print-media companies and has positioned themselves as an industry leader through their dedication and passion to color management, print and design innovation, exceptional quality and relentless service. We provide turnkey services across all pre-media, print and web-based technologies to facilitate and simplify marketing strategies and execution. Primary's extensive breadth of products and services include all forms of print production, design and fabrication of indoor and outdoor POP displays, event and trade show solutions, store profiling and installations, and fulfillment and distribution.

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